boys and girls club

Here Are the Top Ways BGCA Is Promoting STEM-Based Learning

Attaining success in the modern world requires a new type of skill set that centers on technological literacy and the ability to think critically and collaborate effectively with teams in physical and digital environments. To help young people develop 21st-century skills, schools and youth-driven organizations like Boys and Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) are promoting a mastery of fundamental academic subjects, such as history and language arts, while emphasizing education in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) disciplines.

In 2014, BGCA hosted STEM Great Think, a national event that brought thought leaders from other nonprofit groups together with key influencers in education, government, and business to establish partnerships and programs for advancing STEM education in the out-of-school environment. Since then, Boys and Girls Clubs has continued to play a key role in inspiring youth, especially those from underserved backgrounds, to pursue an interest in STEM subjects both in and out of school. Read on for a look at what BGCA and its partners have been doing in the area of STEM education.

 

Closing the Opportunity Gap

All of BGCA’s efforts in STEM are focused on ensuring that every child, regardless of race, gender, or economic background, has the opportunity to attain success in an ever-changing world. Recently, the number of jobs in STEM fields has been growing nearly twice as fast as other disciplines. However, many young people are entering the workforce without the knowledge or skills needed to pursue a STEM career. The lack of skills and/or interest in STEM is especially prevalent among minority youth and young women, but kids and teens from low-income families are also affected.

science

By offering after-school and summer educational programming to a large number of underrepresented youth, BGCA plays an important, and often unrecognized, role in closing the opportunity gap in STEM education. Past research has shown that the type of programs offered at Boys and Girls Clubs sparks young peoples’ interest in STEM fields and is particularly impactful for African-American, Asian-American, and Latino youth. According to BGCA’s 2017 National Outcomes Report, male and female 12th-grade Club members of all races and socioeconomic backgrounds are nearly twice as likely to show an interest in STEM fields as 12th graders who are not involved in their local Club.

 

Teaching Kids and Teens to Code

Boys and Girls Clubs across the country rely on corporate support to provide fun and educational STEM programs for their youth members. In 2017, BGCA and Lenovo launched a partnership to get Club members interested in coding and computer science. Through the partnership, 10 Clubs nationwide will expand their STEM programming to include app-building activities for kids and teens.

For its part, Lenovo, a leading technology provider, is offering PC equipment, computer programs, and volunteer support for “Hackathon” events at local Clubs. During the events, youth teams work with Lenovo employee volunteers to create working app prototypes. The teams then present their apps for a chance to win prizes.

The Hackathon partnership with BGCA is an extension of the long-standing relationship that Lenovo has had with local Clubs near its US global headquarters at North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park. In addition to the Wake County Boys and Girls Club in Raleigh, Clubs in Georgia, Connecticut, California, and Florida are benefitting from the Lenovo-BGCA partnership.

 

Launching STEM Centers of Innovation

Across the country and in many locations overseas, BGCA serves youth in communities that have a strong military presence. The organization began partnering with the US military nearly three decades ago and now serves over 480,000 school-aged children of military families worldwide. To help BGCA provide high-quality STEM experiences for military youth, Raytheon Company has committed $5 million to create Stem Centers of Innovation at BGCA-affiliated military installations.

To date, Raytheon has created 14 Centers of Innovation as part of its five-year funding initiative. A full-time STEM expert is available to assist youth at all of the Centers, which offer fun STEM-based programming and exciting technologies such as 3-D printers and high-definition video equipment. Centers of Innovation have been opened in Germany and several US states, including Arizona, Florida, Hawaii, and Texas. Thanks to a recent $1 million donation from The Walt Disney Company, BGCA will be able to open 12 new additional STEM Centers of Innovation in communities throughout the nation.

 

Supporting 21st-Century Teaching and Learning

Over the past few years, BGCA has been working toward a goal of engaging at least half of all Club members in some type of STEM-based programming by 2020. Clubs across the country are facilitating these efforts by offering programs such as DIY STEM. Corporations such as Samsung and Time Warner Cable have supported the program, which teaches scientific principles through hands-on activities and learning modules.

BGCA also offers STEM experiences during the summer through its Summer Brain Gain learning loss prevention program. It includes project-based activities for Club youth in elementary through high school. BGCA’s other science-based programs include Tech Girls Rock, a national initiative that supports information technology workshops for tween and teen girls 10 to 18 years old.

Advertisements

This Is What Happened during 2018 Boys and Girls Club Week

boysandgirlsclubEach year, the youth, staff, volunteers, and supporters of Boys and Girls Clubs of America celebrate the organization during Boys and Girls Club Week. First held more than 75 years ago, the annual event now highlights the work of the over 61,000 adults who serve Club youth in US cities and at military installations overseas. This year’s Boys and Girls Club Week ran the week of April 9, with local Clubs and community partners participating in an effort to show why Boys and Girls Clubs are a place for youth to become the best versions of themselves.

Here’s a closer look at what happened across the country in celebration of Boys and Girls Club Week 2018:

Celebrating Community through Service Projects and Fun Activities

boys and girls club

Boys and Girls Clubs throughout the United States rely on community support to provide a safe place for youth to learn, grow, and have fun. Boys and Girls Club Week provides a perfect opportunity for Clubs to open their doors to the public for fun activities that celebrate community while highlighting the importance of local youth programming. Many Clubs took advantage of this opportunity in 2018 by holding talent shows, sports competitions, family game nights, art shows, and Club open-house events. Others celebrated the week by bringing Club youth and their families together for community service projects.

In Glasgow, Kentucky, members of the Boys and Girls Club of Glasgow-Barren County handed out basic needs kits to residents of a local low-income housing community. Youth from the Boys and Girls Club of Western Nevada Carson Valley created care packages for the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, and Club members in Shreveport, Louisiana, spent a day beautifying a local public park. Other organizations that gave back during Boys and Girls Club week included the Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club of High Point in North Carolina, which hosted a cookie and punch party for senior citizens.

The Blue Door Decorating Contest

For the last several years, the Blue Door Decorating Contest has been a major component of Boys and Girls Club Week. The Lowe’s-sponsored contest gives youth the opportunity to show off their artistic skills and love for Boys and Girls Clubs by decorating a door at their local Club. Those who participate compete for a chance to win cash prizes.

In 2018 Boys and Girls Clubs narrowed a field of 646 competing organizations down to six regional finalists. The contest wrapped up on April 12 after online public voting selected Boys Club of Cicero in Illinois as the grand prize winner. The Club’s “Dream Free” design earned the organization a $20,000 grant courtesy of Lowe’s. Lowe’s also awarded the second-place Club a $7,500 grant and the remaining finalists $2,500 each.

Recognizing Outstanding Youth Development Professionals     

In addition to the Blue Door Decorating Contest, Boys and Girls Club of America holds its Youth Development Professional of the Year contest in conjunction with Boys and Girls Club Week. The national contest recognizes the work of caring adults who mentor kids and teens at 4,300 Clubs nationwide.

Of the estimated 100 Club leaders nominated for the 2018 award, Boys and Girls Clubs selected five finalists representing Colorado, North Carolina, California, Missouri, and Pennsylvania. This year’s winner, Raytrell Caldwell of North Carolina, took home $10,000 for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Wayne/Johnston Counties, where he serves as the teen program director. He also won a trip to New York City to see BCGA National Spokesperson Denzel Washington in Broadway’s The Iceman Cometh.

Welcoming New Club Facilities

Several Clubs across the country used Boys and Girls Club Week to celebrate the opening of new facilities. Club youth in Santa Cruz, California, got their first look at the refurbished Joe and Linda Aliberti Clubhouse in Scotts Valley. In addition to a lab with 12 desktop computers, the 3,000-square-foot facility features a new basketball court, a game room, and an art room. Club leaders are also installing a garden on the grounds.

In Maryland, Boys and Girls Club of Westminster opened doors on a new 20,000-square-foot facility that will eventually serve 600 local children and teens each day. The renovated building, located in downtown Westminster, was completed as part of a one-year, $5 million fundraising campaign. The space includes a library, book nooks, and a music and dance studio alongside two lounges filled with new furniture, games, and study areas. Eventually, the property will also feature a brand new gymnasium.

Along with those that opened new facilities during Boys and Girls Club Week, other Clubs announced the launch of new development projects. In Texas, Boys and Girls Clubs of the Austin Area unveiled details for a 10-acre East Austin campus that will provide programming for 1,000 area youth. Highlights of the planned 32,000-square-foot campus include art studios, a library, and a STEM learning center, as well as indoor and outdoor athletic facilities.

Top 4 Ways Goodwill Is Promoting Better Education Nationwide

Thanks to its various social services programs, the reach of Goodwill Industries extends far beyond its thrift stores. The organization uses the money it generates from sales of donated items to help people improve their lives and become valuable members of their communities.

With much of its focus on ensuring that individuals are positioned for future success, Goodwill has had education as one of its programming priorities since it first launched well over a century ago. Today, the nonprofit group remains focused on providing valuable learning opportunities for people of all ages.

Here are some of the top ways that Goodwill promotes education in the hundreds of communities it serves throughout the United States:

 

  1. Providing Free Learning Opportunities

One of Goodwill’s most accessible learning programs is offered at GCFLearnFree.org, a free educational website launched by the Goodwill Community Foundation and Goodwill Industries of Eastern NC Inc. On the site, visitors can access a library of more than 2,000 lessons covering over 180 topics in areas such as technology, literacy, and math. To enhance each lesson, the site also features over 800 educational videos and 55 interactive games and activities.

Some of the academic topics covered at GCFLearnFree include basic addition and subtraction, English grammar, algebra, and reading. Much of the site, however, is focused on helping people build 21st-century skills. The subjects taught in this area range from computer basics and email to digital photography, cloud computing, and graphic design. In addition, GCFLearnFree includes a number of tutorials on Microsoft Office programs.

Along with the tech tutorials and lessons in reading and math, the site provides resources for career support and everyday living. The tutorials and interactive lessons in these areas focus on career planning, job search, and money management. Lessons on work skills, food and cooking, and health and safety are also available.

 

learning

 

  1. Educating Adults Who Are Pursuing Their High School Diplomas

While recent statistics show a reduction in high school dropout rates nationwide, approximately 30 million American adults are still without diplomas, and another 3 million people drop out each year. Goodwill organizations throughout the country are doing their part to help these individuals finish their high school education by providing various programs and resources in local communities.

Many Goodwill locations oversee adult learning centers or provide no-cost adult education classes that prepare adult learners for the GED exam. In Indiana, which has one of the highest dropout rates in the country, Goodwill Industries, Inc., launched The Excel Center, a tuition-free public high school for adults. With drop-in childcare, supportive staff, and flexible scheduling that includes both day and night classes, The Excel Center is designed specifically for adults working to earn their diplomas while keeping up with work and family responsibilities.

The success of the original Center site in Indianapolis led Goodwill to open additional locations in Indiana along with other sites in Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Washington, DC. In the Indiana location’s first decade, more than 3,000 adults earned their high school diplomas through The Goodwill Excel Center. Nearly all (97 percent) of the Center’s graduates also went on to earn college credits or job-related certifications.

 

  1. 3. Ensuring Young People Have the Knowledge and Skills to Succeed

In addition to assisting adult learners, Goodwill organizations nationwide work with various community partners to promote youth education. Examples include Goodwill Industries of Denver, which works with several area schools to educate and prepare at-risk students for their future careers. The organization’s youth programs provide education and training in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) subjects. Goodwill of Denver also provides mentoring to help students prepare for and succeed in college.

Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Michigan (SEMI) is another organization that is dedicated to helping local youth. Over the years, SEMI has partnered with businesses and other nonprofits to support community literacy projects. In 2017, the organization distributed more than 7.5 tons of children’s books throughout the community. SEMI also helps lead the Read to Feed program, which provides books for area schools that collect food for local food pantries.

 

kids

 

  1. Leading the Way in Career-Related Education

As part of its efforts to help people overcome barriers to employment, Goodwill Industries directs a large percentage of its resources toward career-related education. At the Goodwill Career and Technical Academy in Austin, Texas, individuals can pursue career certifications in numerous industries, including health care, technology, and business. The Academy also offers accelerated certification programs in skilled construction trades.

Alongside local work-related programs, Goodwill oversees several national initiatives to educate American workers. Many of Goodwill’s activities in recent years have focused on equipping people with the digital skills needed in the modern workforce.

In 2017, the organization launched the Goodwill Digital Career Accelerator, a Google-funded initiative that will ultimately help over 1 million people learn computer support, programming, and other tech-related skills. Goodwill is also partnering with Google and Coursera to help prepare people age 17 and older for careers in IT support.

pulse

This Is How the American Heart Association Is Keeping Youth Healthy

AmericanHeartAssociationThe American Heart Association (AHA) is committed to helping people stay healthy throughout their lives. As part of this commitment, the organization oversees a range of programs and activities focused on research, education, and advocacy. Along with more than 3,000 employees at 156 local offices, AHA leverages the work of over 22.5 million volunteers and supporters to ensure that people of all ages have access to quality health care services and public health education.

In recent years, the association’s work has heavily emphasized children’s health, as obesity rates and preventable health conditions among young people have started to increase. In order to reverse these negative trends, the AHA is targeting youth health through various initiatives implemented in schools and communities. Read on to learn more about how the American Heart Association is working with community partners to help youth to become and stay healthy.

Providing Educational Programs and Resources

For educators, the AHA provides a variety of resources to support health education in the gym and classroom. Elementary and middle school teachers can visit the association’s website to find lesson plans and teaching guides. The resources integrate lessons about heart health, fitness, and nutrition into the math, science, language arts, and social science curriculum. The AHA also offers ideas for educational games and activities that get students moving while teaching them about the cardiovascular system.

Putting the Fun in Healthy Fund-Raising

One of the American Heart Association’s most well-known school programs is Jump Rope For Heart, which is sponsored by the AHA and the Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE). Each year, Jump Rope For Heart events are held in schools across the country. In addition to promoting heart awareness and providing heart-healthy education, the jump rope events help to raise funds to support the AHA’s life-saving research. Today, teachers, coaches, and other school officials can also conduct a Hoops For Heart event, an AHA fundraiser that engages students in basketball activities.

Challenging Youth to Become More Active

Along with its Jump Rope For Heart and Hoops For Heart events, the AHA encourages young people to be more physically active through the NFL Play 60 Challenge. Initially launched in 2006, the challenge is a joint effort between the AHA and the NFL that seeks to reduce the rate of childhood obesity by inspiring children and teens to exercise for a minimum of 60 minutes each day.

In order to encourage teachers and schools to become involved in implementing the program, the AHA and NFL offer online training videos and educational resources that include over four dozen subject-based lesson plans and more than 100 ideas for physical activity breaks and homework assignments. Teachers can also register for the Play 60 Challenge Tracker, which provides an easy way to monitor students’ physical activity. The tracker also offers schools the ability to compare their activity with others taking part in the four-week challenge.

Teaching CPR in Schools

Over the course of more than 90 years, the AHA has been a leading source of emergency cardiovascular care training and education. People across the country now rely on the organization’s programming to learn how to respond to health emergencies using lifesaving CPR techniques. The AHA also delivers training in schools as part of its goal of having all of the nation’s teachers and students trained in CPR.

Through the AHA’s upgraded CPR in Schools Training Kit, up to 20 people at a time can learn CPR skills in a single class period. The kits are also reusable, so hundreds of people can receive training with a single kit. Anyone can order a CPR in Schools Training Kit on the AHA website to help students learn how to respond to an emergency at school or at home.

Giving Kids a Healthy Way to Grow

Outside of school, the AHA works with other organizations, including early childhood centers and programs, which serve approximately 60 percent of American children 5 years old and younger. In partnership with Nemours Children’s Health System, the association advances Healthy Way to Grow, a program that helps early childhood providers to create and implement wellness policies that aim to reverse childhood obesity.

The wellness policies tackle the obesity epidemic by providing child care providers with a guide for improving nutrition, increasing physical activity, and reducing screen time. Healthy Way to Grow also helps providers reach out to families to encourage healthy habits at home. Since the AHA and Nemours launched the program, the network of participating organizations has grown to include 345 early childhood centers serving more than 37,000 children in several US states.

kids

Empowering Advocates of Childhood Health

For the last three decades, the AHA has been bringing people together through You’re the Cure, a grassroots advocacy campaign that focuses on building healthier communities. You’re the Cure advocates for legislative and regulatory policies in a variety of areas, including childhood health. Recently, the campaign has been advancing key issues related to diet and nutrition.

AHA advocates are calling for states to pass a tax on soda, energy drinks, and other sweetened beverages, which are a major source of the added sugar in young people’s diets. You’re the Cure is also focused on promoting and protecting the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, a 2010 law that gives students access to healthy school meals.

Disclaimer: This website contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. This information is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. No guarantee is given regarding the accuracy or validity of any statements or information provided on this website. Do not rely on this information as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare provider. You should seek immediate medical attention if you think you are suffering from a medical condition. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.